Ride a bike, share your experience and love. When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else's heart. ~Diane Ackerman

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Monday, July 25, 2011

A Change of Plans and Ramblings

My Saturday bike ride had a last minute change of plans. What was supposed to be a Bonelli MTB ride turned into an Epic Bonelli/Marshal Canyon ride that left me exhausted for the rest of the day. Even this morning, and as I write this blog, my muscles are still aching.

Saturday's ride was going to be an early MTB ride around Bonelli Park. I thought it would be fun to show my group the Knobby Tire course I raced in June. The plan was to finish my ride early and be home by 9:30 am. The alarm was set to go off by 5 am and by 5:45 I was heading, on bike, to the Park and Ride off Via Verde.

I love early morning rides. There is a beautiful quiet when I set out early in the morning. All the traffic is gone, and as the sun rises, the day is renewed. Yesterday's problems gone and in this instant we start anew.

I made it to the Park and Ride and noticed I had a text message. Well, it looks like the ride is cancelled. DAMN! What do I do now. A toyed with the idea of going back home and cooking up a grand breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy and "brownies" (Jamie calls hash browns, Brownies).

I am going to ride. I am not comfortable riding the dirt trails of Bonelli alone, so I decided to ride to Marshal Canyon.

Bonelli trails don't seem to get much traffic, which can be a good thing if that's what you want. To me riding these trails alone scare me because, "What If". What if I crash, or get a flat. OR even worse, what if I get attacked by a mountain lion or bitten by a rattle snake. All these scenarios play out in my head, so no "Alone Time" on Bonelli Trails.

Marshal Canyon it is. I head to Oak Mesa, a popular staging area, if you are going to ride, run or hike Marshal Canyon. Sure enough, mountain bike riders are getting geared up and runners are congregating on the field. I do a few loops around the parking lot to see if I recognize anyone before heading up the trail.

All strangers none the less, so I "officially" start my MTB ride up Marshal Canyon. More often than not, and even more so when I ride alone, phantasms and memories of the past race through my head. Lower Marshal Canyon reminds me of my High School friend, Dan. Dan pasted away several years ago but as teenagers we used to ride these trails what seemed to be daily.

Made it to Yellow Gate. Yellow Gate is where Marshal Canyon and Cobal Canyon meet. Yellow Gate itself reminds me of another HS friend, Kevin. I remember the first time I made it to Yellow Gate. It was with Kevin. I remember being extremely tired yet proud that I made it to the "top". Kevin, the best rider in our group at the time, wanted to push on, but I talked him into turning back.

Down Cobal Canyon. Cobal Canyon has changed since my first MTB riding experiences in the early nineties. Cobal Canyon used to be quiet and it was rare if you saw another rider. Now it is a zoo. There are hikers, runners, bikers and etc on the various fire roads that make up the Claremont Wilderness Trails (Cobal is one of them).

Cobal Canyon reminds me of David. David was my best friend in Junior High. Somewhere between our Freshman and Senior year of HS, David transferred to Claremont High. I credit him for finding Cobal Canyon. This was his trail. He had the first Trek Carbon OCLV, it was race car red and by far the best bike in our group. He would scream down Cobal hitting speeds above 40 mph! 40 mph seemed to be the magic number.

Up Burbank. The day was warming up. The marine layer was losing its battle to the sun. I really prefer riding DOWN Cobal Canyon and riding UP Burbank. I see a lot of riders doing the opposite and can't understand why they insist on riding in the wrong direction. Cobal Canyon is so much more fun riding down it.

I don't remember the first time I made my way up Burbank. It must have been in the 1990s. Burbank is a nice steady climb and from there you can bridge across Johnston's Pasture to Marshal and Cobal Canyon.

I decided on two laps around Marshal Canyon before calling it quits. My Bonelli ride turned into an Epic ride that took me on a tour that went from Bonelli to Marshal Canyon. A survey of the foothills from Pomona to San Dimas to LaVerne to Claremont. The ride left me beat, tired, extremely hungry and satisfied.

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